Codex Fails to Adopt Ractopamine Standards

by 5m Editor
11 July 2011, at 2:55pm

GLOBAL - The Codex Alimentarius Commission decided to hold at Step 8 the global food safety standards for ractopamine hydrochloride (ractopamine) at its 34th Session that concluded on 9 July in Geneva, Switzerland.

Codex global food safety standards are designed to ensure that public health is protected and to facilitate the fair trade of safe food products, providing international food safety reference points for all countries. Ractopamine is a feed ingredient for pigs that improves carcass leanness, increases average daily gain and improves feed efficiency, and for cattle that increases live weight gain and red meat yield and improves feed efficiency. Ractopamine is not a hormone, antibiotic or genetically modified organism.

Jeff Simmons, president of Elanco, commented: "The human safety of meat from pigs and cattle fed ractopamine hydrochloride has been established and twice reaffirmed by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), Codex's own scientific advisory committee, and by 27 regulatory authorities from around the world. Based upon these safety assessments by scientific experts and regulatory authorities, Elanco is strongly committed to work on global acceptance of ractopamine in collaboration with the entire food chain so that consumers have access to the most affordable and abundant supplies of pork and beef."

There are currently close to one billion people in the world today who do not get enough food to lead healthy and productive lives. As the population grows toward nine billion by 2050, experts predict that food production will need to double, yet there is only 10 percent more land available to meet this staggering need. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization states that 70 percent of the anticipated increase in food production must come from technology.

Mr Simmons added: "Adoption by Codex of the ractopamine standards would have been a major step towards helping address worldwide hunger and enabling sustainable meat production as experts predict that ractopamine's worldwide adoption, based on the increased meat yields, could result in billions of additional servings of pork and beef per year."

Dennis Erpelding, director of corporate affairs for Elanco, commented: "We are disappointed that due to national interests and procedural matters Codex did not adopt the global food safety standards for ractopamine. Codex standards for ractopamine would help countries to differentiate ractopamine, a beta-agonist that can be safely used in food animal production, from other beta-agonists."

Ractopamine is manufactured and marketed by Elanco under the trade names of Paylean® for swine and Optaflexx® for cattle. Paylean use yields about 3kg (or about 6 pounds) of additional lean pork and improves feed efficiency by 10 per cent. Optaflexx use increases hot carcass weight by about 5.5kg (or about 12 pounds) in steers and by about 5kg (or about 11 pounds) in heifers.

Standards for other Elanco compounds adopted at Codex meeting

The Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted global food safety standards for narasin for pigs and tilmicosin for chicken and turkey. Adoption of these standards for narasin and tilmicosin underscores Elanco's long-term commitment to supporting JECFA scientific assessments and the importance of establishing global food safety standards via Codex.

For more information on these products, click here (for global information) or click here (for the US).